Gone Global Blog

The Global Studies Program at Tampa Prep

Students at Tampa Prep can choose an academic concentration in Global Studies or STEM. Follow this blog for a glimpse at the Global Studies Program at Tampa Prep – including exciting visitors, unique events and international experiences.

In March, during Spring break, two teachers, thirteen students and two parents, left for a tour of northern France and Paris. It was a great trip for everyone, the highlight being the D-Day beaches and the Caen Peace Memorial and Museum. At the end of the trip, students reflected about their experience and what impact the trip had on them.

Students explore the Chenoneau Chateau, one of the
best-known chaeaux of the Loire Valley.

Students visit


Square in Beijing.

While most students enjoyed some extra sleep on the first day of Spring Break, a group of 22 Upper School students and three faculty members met at 4:30 a.m. on Friday, March 10 to begin their 18-hour journey to China. After a long flight, they arrived in Beijing, China's political capital and the former center of many ancient Chinese dynasties. Beijing is a city with deep historical and cultural riches. Historically named Khanbaliq, it served as the imperial seat for the Mongol-led Yuan dynasty in the 14th century. During their four days in Beijing, they toured the Summer Palace and the Forbidden City, which served as the imperial palace from the Ming through the Qing dynasties (1420 - 1912). Highlights of Beijing also included visits to several temples, including the Lama Buddhist Temple, the Confucian Temple and the Temple of Heaven.

Students took an early morning trip to visit the Temple of Heaven.

Through the visits to these various sites, students became more knowledgeable about the rich diversity of belief systems in China. Everyone enjoyed great food, including a traditional meal prepared by a local family in the historic hutong area of the city. Built around the many historical treasures is a very modern city with an efficient public rail system, high-end shopping centers and high rise office buildings. A highlight of Beijing included a trip to the street market where several students dared themselves to experience the tastes of Beijing with live scorpions, snake and other interesting street foods. Just outside the city lies the Great Wall, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The climb was steep, but well worth the view as we stood atop and marveled at this magnificent structure built over 2,000 years ago!

Carson O. impressed the group when he ate a live scorpion at the Beijing Night Market.

From Beijing, the Tampa Prep travelers took the overnight train to another former imperial city, Xi'an, also known as Chang an. Much like Beijing, this city held many treasures of the past while displaying a vibrant sense of modernity. In Xi'an, they experienced yet another Wonder of the World, the Terracotta Army of First Emperor Qin Shi Huang. Taking a break from sightseeing, the travelers spent a morning visiting a local school where the Tampa Prep students were able to interact with Chinese students and learn about the differences in educational styles. This was definitely one of the more surprising highlights of the trip!

Tampa Prep students had the incredible opportunity
meet Chinese students and compare education styles.

Finally, they flew from Xi'an to Shanghai where they were surrounded by the sights and sounds of the city. Having spent eight days in the more ancient cities, Shanghai was an exciting contrast with its world-class shopping and soaring skyline. At the Shanghai Museum, they could map the many continuities and changes of Chinese history through the amazing collection of artifacts. The students took the elevator up the Jin Mao Tower, reaching the 88th floor in nine seconds!

Overall, students and faculty alike had an amazing time discovering China's past and experiencing its current vibrance. Mrs. Enaye Englenton said, "The opportunity to enrich students with a global perspective through travel is something I very much value as a teacher of World History. The world is our classroom and I look forward to continuing the adventure next year!"

Being able to enjoy the Shangai skyline at night
was definitely a highlight of the trip for many of the travelers.

Sebastian is currently studying abroad in Zaragoza, Spain for one year.

By Sebastian Lancaster '18

Challenge Accepted, Spain! This week started out with visiting a beautiful city called Alquezár. We spent Monday and Tuesday there, and traveled to see prehistoric cave paintings and went swimming in crystal clear water. After that amazing trip, we began our first few days of classes. I love school here.

I have six classes total:

  • Spanish History and Politics
  • History of Spanish Art
  • Environmental Science
  • English
  • Algebra 2
  • AP Spanish

All of my classes are in Spanish except for Math and English class. Although I sometimes have absolutely no clue what my teachers are saying, I usually understand the gist of the conversations. We have to speak Spanish whenever we are in the center of the school or are in Spanish classes. This is exhausting.

We have 1-2 free periods a day, where we can choose to leave the school and walk to get something to eat or stay at school. I usually stay at school, so I can study and get homework done. This means I am spending a lot of time in the sitting area at the center of the school speaking lots and lots of Spanish.

I have been here for 13 days, and my Spanish has improved dramatically. Now, don't get me wrong, I am still terrible at Spanish, but I am 100% less terrible then I was when I arrived. I am studying loads and trying to have conversations with my "madre de España" as often as I can, and it really is paying off. This, weekend, I hung out with a bunch of new friends. We ate at an amazing Tapas restaurant, hung out by the river and did homework in multiple cafes. It was amazing to just sit with friends, drinking cafe con leche and watching people and cars go by, while completing homework. Everything here is walking distance, and I walk absolutely everywhere with my friends. I cannot wait to be fluent, and I cannot wait to really get to know the city. Until next update, wish me luck!

Former Tampa Prep parent Berhanu Berkele poses with a refugee
gardener while assisting in managing the garden.

By Courtney Zettel '19
As a result of the nearly nine thousand refugee inhabitants, the Tampa Bay area has been transfigured into an exceptionally diverse place. These people had to escape their country in attempt to avoid political unrest, civil war, persecution, etc. Seven years ago, an influx of refugees from Burma arrived in our area. Pastor Joseph Germain of the Global Refuge Community Church and others decided to find a way to provide these people with jobs. St. Mary's Ethiopian Orthodox Church gave about six acres of land off of Causeway Boulevard for a farm. By allowing the refugees to work there, he gave them the opportunity to have a job and create a stable community. It started as purely people coming together to make a difference and change lives. Although the garden alone was not enough to provide stability to the families for a long time, it allowed the refugees to participate in agriculture, which made them comfortable in their new situation due to most of their agricultural backgrounds. In addition, the garden acted as a place of healing from the horrors they experienced that drove them out of their homelands.

Additionally, the refugees' children and the refugees themselves are provided an after-school program to help teach them English and other tools needed to help them adapt to their new lifestyle in the United States free of charge. They are focused primarily on making the future in America easier for young refugees by giving them a good education so they can follow their dreams. Today, people involved in this project are trying to expand the land and facilities and are always extremely grateful of any volunteered service they can receive!

Shocked solely by the number of refugees in Tampa, I cannot wrap my mind around the fact that an institution as important and life-changing as the Tampa Bay Refugee Garden was only miles away without my knowledge. Not only does the garden provide a stable place for the refugees, it produces fresh food with no preservatives! The Tampa Bay Refugee Garden changes the lives of people whose families deserve to have a chance at a bright future without the terrors of incessant violence. I look forward to volunteering my time there.

The Terrapin travelers explore Stiges. Students explore the winding streets of Valencia.

By Sra. Pereira
How does one see half of Spain in 11 days? Travel with Tampa Prep on Spring Break! Fifty-three members of the Tampa Prep community just returned from a trip to Spain that included stops in Barcelona, Valencia, Granada, Costa del Sol, Sevilla, Cordoba and Madrid. Seven intrepid chaperones accompanied the trip: Sra. Pereira, Sr. Pereira, Srta. Fenton, Sr. Ruiz, Mr. Seary, Coach Cool, Mrs. Thomason, and Mrs. Cooner.

The incredible Sevilla chaperones in "El Retiro" park in Madrid.

In addition, the company of a few parents and Tampa Prep faculty members, who enjoyed themselves as much as the students did, made our trip even more memorable. Some of the highlights of the trip included flamenco shows, bike rides, donkey tours, seeing the Easter festivities in Sevilla, the Mezquitain Cordoba, the Royal Palace, eating our way through the markets, a farewell dinner with tapas and traditional live music and our amazing tour director Sjoukje! The students are to be applauded for their curiosity, excitement, punctuality, manners and world-class packing skills!

Students check out Granada. The group takes a break near the Cathedrale of Sevilla.

Seek out these awesome travelers and ask them about what surprised them, what was unforgettable, which was their favorite city and when they want to go back!

One of the group favorites was Mijas,
a village filled
with white buildings.
Travelers were very impressed with
the incredible details of Alhambra.

To understand how much we say and experienced, check out the video blogs below from Lexa Armstrong.

Lexa's Video Blogs:
Costa del Sol and Mijas